WITH the final countdown to Schools Spectacular now on, students from the Mid North Coast are taking every opportunity to practice for the annual event.
It will be staged at Qudos Bank Arena at Sydney Olympic Park on November 23 and 24.
Spectacular by name and appearance, the brilliant show features thousands of students from NSW public schools.
That includes a 2700-strong choir, 2300 diverse dancers, an 80-piece symphony orchestra, a world-class stage band and a huge number of outstanding solo performers.
Among them are Hastings Secondary College students Shea Lamont (year 12), Hayley Cowell (year nine) and Beth Kars (year seven).
Schools from the Mid North Coast with students involved include Forster Public School, Wauchope Public School, Great Lakes College Tuncurry Campus, Hastings Secondary College Port Macquarie Campus, Hastings Secondary College Westport Campus and South Grafton High School.
“We have lots of formations to learn and lots of rehearsals,” Shea explained.
“It’s very difficult to get it all together. We have had one rehearsal with everyone who is in our section, and have had one on our own (so) it will be tough.”
“The days are very long and hot, with hundreds of kids on stage,” Hayley added.
The students have to know the numbers and colours of the other 200-odd students on stage with them, so mentally the show can be just as tough as it is physically.
“It’s going to be very tiring but it’s worth it. We love to dance,” Beth said.
“It’s different to come from a country town and go down to Sydney to see how the big productions work. It’s fun week and we get to bond like a family.”
Team captain Shea, who has now completed her HSC, is on her way to Melbourne in 2019 for a two year course at the Jason Coleman Ministry of Dance.
Their group will perform in two different sections featuring Australian artists, a combined time of about 15 minutes on stage.
It means a lot of early mornings, late nights and lots of study.
“We go from school, to the studio, back home late at night and then do it all again,” they said.
“It’s worth it. We are always together, like a family, and the majority of us go to the same dance school. We love it.”
Now in her third year as a Schools Spectacular choreographer, Joanne Gilmour said she adores seeing the students’ faces light up when they step out on to the arena floor.
“It’s a long and tough day but well worth it for them to experience all that is the spectacular,” she said.
“Making new friends, performing, developing their talent on a state wide platform, working with new teachers and choreographers and broadening their horizons about the performing arts industry.”